4 key points that will help the tourism sector to face the COVID-19 crisis during this summer season
The health crisis caused by COVID-19 has resulted in millions of euros worth of losses in the tourism sector. Now, these business types are facing the high season with uncertainty and a distinct lack of bookings, especially those from abroad.
At Easy Payment Gateway, we highlight the importance of adopting measures in the tourism sector to deal with the current situation: the competition is now greater than ever. Since the number of travellers has decreased, it is vital that hotels and airlines take measures to differentiate themselves from their competitors and to attract as many customers as possible to their offers.
Learn more about the ways to improve customer experience and grab the attention of travellers during the coming weeks:
- The flexibility of transactions. Many people have decided against travelling this summer, whilst others are trying to bring their booking time forward for fear of a second lockdown. In both cases, they advise companies in the tourism sector to be flexible and to allow clients to change their reservation dates for free, meaning that they only have to pay the difference if the new dates are more expensive. Allowing customers who cancel their reservations to receive either a full refund or a voucher will also give users further peace of mind, encouraging them to make the reservation in the future.
- Instil confidence. In recent weeks, the number of cyber-attacks which have used COVID-19 as bait has increased. We have also seen significant data breaches from major companies in the industry, a recent example being EasyJet. In this sense, that consumers are increasingly aware of that fact that their data can be extracted by cyber-criminals, so making the customer aware that the necessary security measures are firmly in place is extremely important when it comes to instilling confidence, which in turn leads to increased sales. Among the wide variety of measures to avoid data theft, experts highlight tokenization. At Easy Payment Gateway, they use this important security method both to avoid such attacks and to improve customer experience during the purchasing process. Tokenization acts as a secure way to store bank card information when a card is introduced to the system it produces an electronic receipt, a unique identification code which replaces the sensitive data on the card. In any case of theft, even if the cyber-criminal can obtain the information on the receipt, it would be of no use to them and the card details would be safe. The next time the user makes a purchase, they will not have to enter the card details, since the website can simply return the electronic receipt to Easy Payment Gateway and we will take care of the rest, giving a sense of comfort to the user.
- Variety of payment methods. In around 50% of cases, if a business does not provide the users’ preferred method of payment, the purchase process is abandoned. Therefore, offering the potential customer a wide range of payment methods can make a difference when closing a transaction. In this sense, considering that the summer season is when the bulk of foreign tourists arrive, it is also necessary to offer a range of international payment solutions. Due to the fact that fewer tourists will come from abroad this year, businesses should be sure to offer their preferred payment methods to avoid losing out on sales. The use of a bank card is less common in many European countries when compared with countries like Spain. For example, in Germany, the most used payment solution is Sofort. This is a payment system based mainly on bank transfers. The main difference between this and a normal transaction is that the user only has to select their country and their bank. They then enter their username and password and, to finish, must enter their PIN number. This is a useful tool as it avoids having to manually enter bank details. “Pay by link” is another very useful and convenient solution. Once the details of the purchase have been confirmed, the user only has to click on a link which they receive through SMS or e-mail. This link then takes them to a page where they may select the payment method with which they would like to finalise the purchase. Easy Payment Gateway provides 240 different payment methods, from which 190 are considered alternative, making it the perfect solution for customers in the tourism sector.
- Effective customer service. During the first few weeks of the state of alarm, the main complaint from customers within the tourism industry was the impossibility of contacting airlines and travel agencies, due to the unusually large influx of queries. To avoid this, investing more than ever in a customer service model which can face this kind of situation in a quick and personalised manner is very important. Chatbots are perfect for this, as they alone can satisfy the needs of a client and even place orders. In spite of this, only 30% of eCommerce sites currently make use of this tool.
Customer experience is the key when it comes to ensuring that the client chooses to reserve our accommodation, flights etc… as opposed to our competitors. Both effective customer service and flexibility of transactions, whilst offering a variety of payment methods and a secure website that inspires confidence in the user are fundamental aspects that companies must consider in order to face this summer season in a positive way.